Albert Lebourg (1849-1928)
a neglected Impressionist
Was Lebourg an Impressionist?
Lebourg is hardly mentioned in sources on Impressionism. And if so, he is just summoned as a partaker of the 4th and 5th exposition in 1879 + 1880. Lebourg had contacts with Impressionists like Boudin, Degas, Monet and Pissarro, but probably they were not very close. Being in Alger from 1872-76 he was not involved in the early years of Impressionism. Still exhibiting 30 works in 1879 and 20 in 1880 Lebourg is treated as a sort guest of honour. Why Lebourg stopped exhibiting with the Impressionists is unclear. But we can conclude that he was just a side-figure within the ‘impressionist’ art-movement.
In his numerous landscapes Lebourg renders the influence of season, sun and weather. At least 1890 onwards he consequently renders this influence in the titles of his works. Earlier he also rendered in the titles the location. Lebourg can use more greyish and brownish colours rendering cloudy, foggy, wintery scenes. But often his palet is very bright. In his later works the used colours can be slightly unnatural. His brushstroke is loose. Sometimes he uses juxtaposed brushstrokes, but doesn’t do so consequently. This can make his works less vibrating. But overall we can conclude that Lebourg painted in an impressionist style. Therefore it is a pity that he is so little mentioned and acknowledged in books on Impressionism.
Lebourg joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions in 1879 and 1880 with many works:
At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 Lebourg showed 30 works (catalogue numbers 108-137) (R2,p268/9). Including 11 works made in Alger, 7 Marines and 10 drawings. See pictures.
At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 Lebourg showed 20 works, including 10 drawings (catalogue numbers 85-104) (R2,p312). See pictures.
Some sources wrongly mention that Lebourg already exhibited in 1876 (iR3;iR22).
See link for an account.
Lebourg at the Salon:
Lebourg exhibited irregularly at the Salon in 1878 + 83 + 86 (iR1). Some sources wrongly mention that he debuted in 1883 (R3;iR3). Askart (wrongly) mentions he exhibited at the Salon from 1883-95 (iR41). At the Salon he is called a pupil of Morin and later also Laurens (iR1).
Later on Lebourg exhibited with the SNBA yearly from 1890-99 and irregularly in 1902 +03 + 09 + 10. (iR1) He was member of the ‘Société nationale des Beaux-Arts’ from 1890-1910 (iR1) and maybe until 1919 (iR24); Marques wrongly mentions this was 1893 onwards. Others wrongly mention he was a member of the ‘Société des Artistes Français’ 1893 onwards (iR3;iR22).
There also was a Charles-Auguste Lebourg, born in Nantes, a sculptor, who exhibited at the Salon (in at least 1852 + 53 + 57 + 80 + 84 + 85) (iR1). At the Salon des Refuses of 1863 there also exhibited a Louis-Guillaume Lebourg.
See link for an account.
Lebourg at other exhibions:
1887: exhibited with ‘Les XX’ in Brussels (R116I,p202;iR3;iR22). 1896: large exhibition at Gallery Mancini in Paris (R9). 1900: exhibits at the Exposition Universelle (R3), wins a silver medal (iR3). 1903: large retrospective (111 works) at the Rosenberg Gallery (iR3;iR22). 1918: large retrospective at George Petit in Paris (R3;iR3). Several other exhibitions in Paris in 1896 + 99 +1906 + 10 + 23 (iR3).
Lebourg as an artist:
Visists the ‘École municipale (l’Académie) de peintre et de dessin’ and the ‘École des Beaux-Arts’ in Rouen (R3;iR65;iR3). Pupil of Gustave Morin (iR1;iR3;iR22). Also influenced by Victor Delamarre (iR22). 1867: influenced by the works of Courbet and Manet exhibited at the Salon (R3). Inspired by the landscapes of Dupré and Isabey (R9). Follower of Charles-François Daubigny (iR69). 1872-76: drawing teacher at the ‘société des Beaux-Arts d’Alger’ or ‘École supérieure des Beaux-Arts d’Alger’ (R3;iR24;R9;R16;iR65); some sources mention he stayed until the summer of 1877 (iR3;R74;iR22). He was inspired by Jean Seignemartin (iR3;iR22). He followed a similar way as the Impressionists (R16;iR70). 1877-79: preparations for an exam on being drawing teacher in Paris in the studio of Jean-Paul Laurens, but at last he withdrew himself (R9;iR1;R3;iR24;iR22); some sources suggests he studied with Laurens before 1872 (iR65;iR3). He admired Constable, Gainsborough and Turner (iR70). Later on Lebourg teaches at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (iR69). Henri-Lucien-Joseph Buron, Robert Pinchon were some of his pupils (iR69). Lebourg gave advice to Alfred-Marie Le Petit (iR69). At some time Lebourg leaded a group of painters in Rouen, including Narcisse Guilbert (iR69). In 1897 Pissarro writes about 25 works of Lebourg at an auction ‘all of them weak and really bad’ (R116I,p41).
Often paints the same motive under different circumstances (R3;R74;iR22). He expresses the subtle nuances of light variations that drown the forms (R9). His palet was quite light (R16). He uses bright and fresh but seldom contrasting colours (R74). With small brushstrokes he renders the movement of water (R16). He renders the vibrating air (R74). He mist the revolutionary élan of the Impressionists; his works are not provocatie (R74). He worked very accurate (R74). He renders modest and harmonious intervals of colours (R74). He had a preference for moisty atmospheres, fogs and grey skies (R74;R9). He can be seen as a follower of Boudin and Jongkind (R74). Others count him among the best Impressionists (iR65), painting in a luminous Impressionist style (iR70;iR3). Others recon him to the School of Honfleur (of Saint-Siméon) (iR69).
Lebourg was befriended with Degas, Monet and Pissarro (R16;iR3). Still Wildenstein doesn’t mention him (R22) and Pissarro&Durand-Ruel just 4x, including a lunch with Pissarro in September 1896 (R116).
The Durand-Ruel Gallery bought his works (iR70). Henri Vever, whose collection was auctioned 1897/02/01, had collected at least 25 works of Lebourg; his works were sold for high prices (R116I,p41+272). Signac made 8 sketches of a selection of these paintings of Lebourg (R39,p306).
Albert-Charles Lebourg, a short biography:
- 1849/02/01: Albert-Charles Lebourg was born in Montfort-sur-Risle (Eure) (iR24;R9;R74;R3;iR3;iR22)
Also Albert-Marie Lebourg (iR24;iR65;iR3)
- he came from a middle-class family (iR22)
- 1867: travels to Paris (R3).
- 1872-76: lives in Alger (R3)
- 1873/09/08: marries in Rouen (iR22;R3;iR3).
- 1877: goes to Paris (R3).
- 1883-86: Lebourg dwells at 22, Avenue des Gobelins, Paris (iR1).
- 1884: stay in the Auvergne (R3); or from 1884-88 (iR41;iR22)
- 1884/6-95: lives alternating in Rouen and Paris (R3;iR24).
- 1888-95: dwells in Puteaux (iR3;iR22); at the 1891 exhibition of the SNBA as second address is rendered: 15, Avenue de la Défense à Puteaux (Seine) (iR1).
- 1890-1910: dwells at 60, Rue de Clichy, 9th arrondissement, Paris (iR1)
- 1895-97: travels to Holland (R3;R9;iR70;iR3;iR22)
1890-1906: works made in Holland (iR24)
- 1900: travels to England (R3;iR70;iR22).
- 1902: travels to Switserland (R3;iR22); or in 1900 (R16).
- 1903/06/27: appointed ‘Chevalier de Légion d’honneur (iR3;iR24;iR65;iR22)
- 1905: travels to Bordeaux and La Rochelle (R3).
- Together with Albert-Gaston Guilloux, his brother-in-law, Lebourg brought up Charles Aimé Guilloux, born 1914/01/29, who was orphaned at an early age (iR70).
- 1921: Lebourg was paralysed by a stroke (iR70;iR65); or in 1920/09 (iR3)
- 1921/02: Lebourg remarried (iR3)
- 1924/04/22: appointed ‘Officier de Legion d’Honneur’ (iR3).
- 1928/01/06: Lebourg died in Rouen (iR24;R3;R9;R74;iR3;iR22) or the 7th (iR69;iR3;iR24;iR22)
My main sources are Moffett (1986=R2), Walther (2013=R3,p674), Schurr&Cabannne (2008=R9,p453), Spiess (1992=R16,p174), Ferretti-Bocquillon (2001=R39), Maillard (1968=R74,p192/3), Pissarro&Durand-Ruel (2005=R116), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3), WGI (iR22), RKD (iR24), Askart (iR41), Marques (iR65), Bénézit (iR69), Grove (iR70) and the additional references (=aRx). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are Wikimedia (iR6) and xx. For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
For further reading:
Walther, R.: Catalogue Raisonné.
Bénézit (1976,vol.6,p.508-10=R75; 1999,vol.8,p.383-5=R76); Busse (1977,p739=R77); Witt (1978,p171); Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (1999,vol.6,p135). (iR24)
Bénédite, Léonce: Catalogue Raisonné de l’oeuvre d’Albert Lebourg. Paris, Wildenstein, 1923. (412 pages in French, representing 2137 works) (iR24;iR3)
- albert-lebourg.org (extended website on Lebourg made by Jean-Pierre Vallée)